Everybody in the Heartland has a Story: Harold and Jeanette Glas - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Everybody in the Heartland has a Story: Harold and Jeanette Glasener


We wait nearly all year for autumn. It's worth it. The leaves, burnished shades of gold, red and orange, dance gracefully to the ground. But there is a sadness to this season as well.

With each passing day, branches stand starkly against a sky that will soon give way to the desolation of winter. Autumn reminds us that another summer is gone, another year has passed, and we have all grown older.

At one time a booming timber town, there is nothing but trees in Zalma. Trees and wide open spaces. A little more than 100 people lay their heads to rest here each night. There's a school, a volunteer fire department and across the street, a post office.

Drive just a little ways out of town, take a right here and a left there and you'll stumble upon what looks like a trail through the woods. It's actually the very long, very scenic, occasionally bumpy driveway that leads to Jeanette and Harold Glasener's place. Get through the woods and there's a clearing where you can see it all, 110 acres of gorgeous.

The year was 1963, when Harold decided to buy this parcel of land. He gave $5,000 for the property which at that time was nothing but trees.

"It was all woods, all woods. Everywhere you looked, " remembers Harold.

At the time Harold was married to someone else and working in St. Louis at McDonnell Douglas. Over the course of years, different jobs, a child, and later divorce, he would come to this hollow at night and on the weekends and carve out a spot for a home.

"We built everything by hand," says Harold.

Often at his side was his mother. A strong German woman, she thought nothing of a hard day's work and helped Harold transform his mini forest into a homestead.

Meanwhile, Jeanette, who had known Harold for years, was carving out her own life. She married, had two kids, and divorced. In March of 1962 she asked for a job at the Zalma Post Office and got it.

"I locked myself out on the first day," she recalls, "I had to get the old postmaster to come let me in."

Jeanette was Zalma's postmaster for nearly 30 years.

"Oh I missed the people when I retired. That was hard for me. It took me two years to reconcile that I had retired," she says.

People, from all walks of life, were part of Jeanette's world from a very young age. When she was five years old the Marquette Hotel in Cape Girardeau was her home. Her father had worked himself up from bellhop to manager of the hotel.

Her dad didn't want her roaming the halls and preferred for her to stay in their tiny hotel suite. But it wasn't always fun and it certainly wasn't realistic for a little girl to do that, so at times, Jeanette would venture out like a thief in the night and take in the comings and the goings of the grand hotel.

She remembers seeing soldiers arrive at the hotel for a meal.

"I was a young girl so they looked old to me. I'm sure they were just teenagers. They were Army men," she says with a chuckle.

Jeanette's parents eventually divorced. When she was 11, she and her mother moved to Zalma. This is where Jeanette would stay for the rest of her life.

And so it came to be, in the autumn of their lives, that Harold and Jeanette rediscovered each other. At the tender ages of 60 and 67 they tied the knot and began carving out their lives together in this 110 acre hollow of gorgeous.

Turns out love, like autumn, is worth the wait.

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